Reports surfacing today indicate that General Motors will build and test several thousands of self-driving Chevrolet Bolts starting at the beginning of next year, according to Reuters. The American automaker will partner with Lyft Inc—the ride-sharing company in which GM has invested $500 million—to deploy the autonomous Bolts in Lyft's ride-sharing fleets. Even though GM has no immediate plans to sell self-driving Bolts to consumers quite yet, Lyft will reportedly be testing these specially-prepped Bolts across several different states.
Over the past year, GM execs have mentioned the American automaker would manufacture and deploy autonomous vehicles in ride-sharing fleets, but never released when this would actually happen and with whom as a partner, even though it was assumed it would be Lyft, given GM's investment. In response to today's news from Reuters, though, GM has released a statement that hints at at some sort of timeline.
"We do not provide specific details on potential future products or technology rollout plans. We have said that our AV technology will appear in an on-demand ride sharing network application sooner than you might think."
Given the push towards fully autonomous technology being available in consumer cars, GM's move to use Lyft as a testbed for its autonomous Bolts is a smart move. If the sources reporting Reuters are right, expect to see self-driving Bolts on the roads next year.